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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

March 1, 2013

Northwest to celebrate Women’s History Month with focus on STEM

Updated March, 14, 2013

Women's History Month events

Sunday, March 3

  • 2-4 p.m. – A celebration of the Missouri Ladies Military Band of Maryville and Alma Nash (Nodaway County Historical Society Museum)

Wednesday, March 6

  • 7-8 p.m. – Jean Jennings Bartik Exhibit Reception (B.D. Owens Library, second floor)

Wednesday, March 13

  • 5-6 p.m. – STEM Fields Roundtable (Student Union, First Ladies Dining Room)
  • 7-9 p.m. – Video: “Top Secret Rosies(Student Union, Meeting Room A)

Saturday, March 16

  • 7 p.m. – Women in the Fine Arts (Charles Johnson Theater)

Monday, March 18

  • 3:30-5:30 p.m. – Video: “Top Secret Rosies(Student Union, Living Room)

Tuesday, March 19

  • 7-8 p.m. – Book discussion: “Kabul Beauty School” by Deborah Rodriguezin (Student Union, First Ladies Dining Room)


Northwest Missouri State University will host a variety of events during March to highlight the achievements of women and commemorate Women’s History Month.

While this year’s events take on the theme of “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” the schedule of events includes exhibits as well as a video presentation and a book discussion.

The women’s history events are organized by Dr. Elyssa Ford, assistant professor of history, and Dr. Michelle Wade, assistant professor of political science, and sponsored by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Office of Intercultural Affairs. All events are free and open to the public.

“It's important that we celebrate Women's History Month at Northwest and all institutions of learning because women's accomplishments throughout history have often been ignored until the latter part of the 20th century – both in the classroom and in scholarship,” Wade said. “Events like this not only draw attention to historic accomplishments of women, but also to current challenges women still face in the United States and worldwide.”

The month’s events begin with a program celebrating the Missouri Ladies Military Band of Maryville, which was formed by Alma Nash's female music students and marched into history in the Women's Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 1913. The girls were the only all-female band of the 10 bands that marched that day. The event, which will feature a new exhibit about Nash, is 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Nodaway County Historical Society Museum, 110 N. Walnut, in Maryville. The exhibit is organized by Heather Soat, a senior public history major.

Several of the month’s events highlight Northwest alumna Jean Jennings Bartik, beginning with a reception at the Jean Jennings Bartik Museum, housed in the B.D. Owens Library, from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6. An exhibit featuring Jennings Bartik, created by Northwest Archives interns Brett Crumbaugh and Shannon Wohl, will be displayed throughout the month on the second floor of the Owens Library. Tours of the museum also are available by contacting the Information Systems Help Desk at 660.562.1634 or emailing Kim Todd at

Events also include two showings Wednesday, March 13, and Monday, March 18, of “Top Secret Rosies,” a documentary telling the story of Jennings Bartik and other bright, female college students who worked during World War II as computers, hand calculating the firing trajectories of artillery. Jennings went on to become one of six women chosen to program the world's first electronic computer and maintained ties to Northwest until her death in 2011.

The book discussion, from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, will focus on “Kabul Beauty School” by Deborah Rodriguez, which takes a look at the development of a beauty school for women in Afghanistan. The discussion will explore the position of women in Afghanistan, the problems they face in a post-Taliban era and how access to training and jobs have created change. The book is available for purchase at the Bearcat Bookstore in the J.W. Jones Student Union.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16 in the Charles Johnson Theater, the public is invited to a recital featuring women in Northwest's Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Performers will include Charles Badami, piano; Rebecca Dunnell, flute; Jan and Gayla Kobialka, cello and piano; Vanessa Parsons, mezzo-soprano; Amanda Petefish Schrag, theater; and Erin Oehler and Veronica Watkins, ceramics.

Throughout the month, the Northwest community also can view cards displayed at dining locations in the Student Union, created by Courtney Gard, a senior history major from Blue Springs.

Ford said she hopes people who attend the events realize how women have contributed to STEM fields over time and the role that Northwest graduates have and will play in such areas.

“The role of women in the sciences and other STEM fields is an important one, and I think it is an especially relevant topic to be discussed at a university where many female students are studying in those areas,” Ford said. “In addition, Northwest has a pretty unique and important tie to a woman in the STEM fields through Jean Jennings Bartik and her work as a programmer for one of the first computers in the 1940s.”

National Women's History Month was founded in 1987 when the U.S. Congress declared that it be celebrated during March in perpetuity. A presidential proclamation is issued annually to honor the achievements of American women. For more information about the national celebration, visit

A schedule of Women’s History Month events at Northwest appears below. For more information on any of the Northwest events, contact the Intercultural and International Center at 660.562.1367.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468